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E05312: Latin inscription recording the purchase of a tomb sited 'in the new crypt, behind the saints (in crypta nova, retro sanctos)' by two women. Found in the cemetery of Cyriaca ad Sanctum Laurentium, via Tiburtina, Rome. Probably second half of the 4th - first half of the 5th c.

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posted on 2018-04-12, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
in crupta noba retro san-
ctus emerum se vivas Baler-
ra et Sabina merum loc-
u bisoni ab Aprone et a

read in crupta noba retro sanctos emerunt se vivas Balera et Sabina {merum} locu bisomu(m) ab Aprone et a Biatore: Ferrua

'Valeria and Sabina, when they were still alive, bought a bipartite tomb in the new crypt, behind the saints, from Apro and Viator.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VII, no. 19432 = EDB30714. Translation: P. Nowakowski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Saints, unnamed : S00518 Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions Archaeological and architectural - Internal cult fixtures (crypts, ciboria, etc.)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Merchants and artisans


The inscription is now lost, and is known only through records of early modern explorers of the Christian catacombs of Rome. It was probably carved on a marble plaque. Recorded by Marco Boldetti and published by him in 1720. All other editions are based on his text. The reference edition is now that in the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae by Antonio Ferrua (1980).


Antonio Ferrua supposed that the women purchased the tomb from two grave-diggers, and, following the opinion of earlier editors, that the expression retro sanctos refers to an intentional burial ad sanctos, meant to aid the deceased in the afterlife. Dating: The editors of the Epigraphic Database Bari date the inscription to the second half of the 4th or first half of the 5th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB30714, see De Santis, P., Sanctorum Monumenta: "Aree sacre" del suburbio di Roma nella documentazione epigrafica (IV-VII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2010), no. 83. De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.), Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 7: Coemeteria via Tiburtinae (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1980), no. 19432. Marchi, G., Monumenti delle arti cristiane primitive nella metropoli del cristianesimo (Rome: , 1844), 102. Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2153. Muratori, L.A., Novus Thesaurus Veterum Inscriptionum in Praecipuis Earumdem Collectionibus Hactenus Praetermissarum, vol. 4 (Milan, Ex Aedibus Palatinis, 1742), 1840, no. 3. Boldetti, M.A., Osservazioni sopra i cimiteri de' santi martiri, ed antichi cristiani di Roma: aggiuntavi la serie di tutti quelli, che sino al presente si sono scoperti, e di altri simili, che in varie parti del mondo si trovano, con alcune riflessioni pratiche sopra il culto delle sagre reliquie (Rome: Presso Gio, Maria Salvioni Stampatore Vaticano, 1720), 53 and 57. Further reading: Bond, S.E., "Mortuary workers, the Church, and the funeral trade in Late Antiquity", Journal of Late Antiquity 6 (2013), 145.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity